‘Medicare for All’ Isn’t Sounding So Crazy Anymore

To be able to deliver on its promises, single payer would not only require trillions in new revenue through higher taxes, but also huge cost savings from slashing payments to drug companies, doctors and hospitals. “There are a million and one complexities” to single payer that no one has really dealt with, said Dean Bake

.. Senator Sanders went out of his way to list all the tax hikes he’d use to pay for his 2016 proposal, including an across-the-board 2.2 percent income tax. But two prominent policy analysts said the plan would cost about twice as much as the senator claimed.

.. But many advanced, industrialized democracies with universal coverage don’t have a pure single-payer system. France, for instance, has health care for all that is largely state-financed, but most people also buy private supplemental coverage.

.. Mr. Baker believes the top priority is a credible transition plan. “If you just take everyone with employer-provided insurance and put all of them on a public plan, you’re going to freak people out,” he said. He’s interested in reviving the public option — a government-run plan that would compete with private insurance on the exchanges — as well as opening up Medicare or Medicaid to those who want to buy in.

.. Democrats risk making the same mistake on health care as Republicans: big promises without a plan to follow through.

The Best Way to Save Obamacare

As someone involved in the debate over the Affordable Care Act from the start, I don’t find these unhappy events all that surprising. From the outset, I’ve argued that without a public option — a Medicare-like plan that would be available to all Americans buying health insurance — insurance competition would dwindle and premiums would skyrocket. Now that they have, it’s time to do now what we should have done then: take the simplest route to a more stable and affordable health care system.

.. We’re already heading toward single payer in sections of the nation — only it’s a private plan doing the paying. Next year, five states will have only one insurer in their exchanges, the online marketplaces set up to allow uninsured Americans to buy subsidized coverage. Nine more states will have just two insurers.

.. The diminishing number of choices doesn’t just hurt consumers; it also makes it harder for regulators to use antitrust tools to push back against this consolidation. Who wants to be the official accused of causing an insurer to leave the exchanges? It’s a perverse equation: As the number of insurers goes down, the leverage they have over regulators goes up.

.. In polls conducted in 2009 and 2010, substantial majorities of Americans said they would feel better about being required to have coverage if they had the choice of a public plan.

.. In polls conducted in 2009 and 2010, substantial majorities of Americans said they would feel better about being required to have coverage if they had the choice of a public plan.